By erasing our military involvement in El Salvador, America ignores a central part of who I am. My birth is the direct result of U.S. foreign policy, a military project in which I had no say. While certain Americans can afford to forget the various military projects we’ve embarked on abroad, there is a substantial number of Americans who don’t have that luxury. Those who make this country great, vibrant, and diverse are most damaged by its short memory span in remembering its imperialistic military history.
The United States continues to involve itself abroad, with missile strikes on Syria serving as just one example. When we attempt to shape political systems abroad, we inevitably begin the process of creating a new group of Americans whose lives fall between two nations. To reject these Americans, by refusing to settle refugees or immigrants, is to forget critical parts of American history and disrespect the hyphenated-Americans already living here. We have already forgotten El Salvador. We can’t afford to forget anyone else.
Ruben E. Reyes Jr. ’19, a Crimson Editorial Chair, is a History & Literature concentrator in Leverett House.